Kanoechor

An Excerpt from the Jinx in Hell Campaign
Jim Vassilakos (jim.vassilakos@gmail.com)

Kurt, Jinx’s player and therefore my co-writer, doesn’t want the campaign writeup, as such, continued in A&E, but he’s not adverse to my releasing excerpts. In this scene, Jinx is already a godling gifted with insight and advanced telepathy, although she is not yet particularly experienced at controlling either. She has been asked to perform a mission involving Kanoechor, a minor noble on the 7th plane of Hell, known as Maladomini. This excerpt previously appeared in APAcalypse T41. Hope you enjoy, and it’s good to be back (now if only I can get re-accustomed to meeting the submission deadline). After Jinx leaves Baftis, Akes is there to meet her and take her back to her sisters-in-arms. “Ring the bell when you’ve assembled your team,” Akes tells here. “No need,” Jinx replies. “I’ll be doing this mission alone.” “You intend to abduct Kanoechor by yourself?” “Your concern for my well-being is most touching,” Jinx smiles. Akes stares for a moment, then simply nods with a slight smile of her own. “As you wish.” And with those words, she takes Jinx by the hand and teleports her to a guarded tower on the very outskirts of Malagard. From there they traverse to a balcony overlooking the city’s outer walls. Jinx can see the dark, foreboding landscape of Maladomini stretching out in the hazy distance, bonfires burning here and there, each one a little party of the damned. Then they teleport again, blinking in and out from one dark horizon to the next, until they soon find themselves somewhere beneath the surface, standing at the edge of a great yawning cavern several miles in width and perhaps a dozen in length. Before them, at the cavern’s central region, stands a city on a hill, not a glistening white city, but rather a foul, black one, built from great blocks of stone and surrounded by loose rubble. The entire hill, in fact, appears to be a vast collection of loose rubble, and the only light is cast by brilliant bolts of lightning arcing upward from the very heart of the city itself.1 As she observes this, a noxious odor greets Jinx’s nose, a fragrance the likes of which she has never before experienced. As she peers for its source, she can see various streams of blood mixed with bile, marrow and raw sewage slowly trickling into the cavern from outside. As for the city on the hill, a rather low hanging part of the ceiling seems to loom over it somewhat ominously, making the whole scene appear like two giant teeth intent upon gnawing against one another. Then, for the briefest instant, Jinx can see within her mind’s eye exactly that: the ceiling suddenly descending without warning as the city is smashed flat, it’s
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occupants squished into squat little bags of broken bones and spattered blood. That was only seven years ago, and they have since rebuilt as is their task, though Jinx isn’t quite sure how it is she knows this. Then she looks at Akes, and she realizes it is because her shedevil guide is thinking about it, almost laughing about it, in fact. “I present to you the Molars of Oblivion,” Akes smiles, raising her hand somewhat non-chalantly, as though the city’s continual construction and destruction were entirely her idea. “Molars,” Jinx says, feigning ignorance. “As in teeth?” “Precisely,” Akes nods. “Once every so often, the teeth go ‘crunch’, and then there is a nice flat place for a new town to be built. After all, we have to keep our subjects occupied. It is for their own good.” “An interesting torture,” Jinx nods. “What is it they do to deserve this fate?” “They fail,” Akes replies sans her usual smile. “Then I shall endeavor not to. Where is Kanoechor?” “In the mines below the city where the sewage settles. You may have to swim through it to reach him,” she adds with pouty-lips. “Nonetheless, you will find him there with his hordes of misbegotten tieflings and other assorted riff-raff, run-aways, and those who attempt to feed off the Leviathan. If you get lucky, you may even see Nergal. He has been known to drop in from time to time.” “What else?” “There’s an entrance to the mines along the base of the hill, but it’s magically guarded. I expect that you may find it somewhat more difficult than the drow defenses. Another way in is through the river itself.” “The river of blood and excrement?”

See Wayne Barlowe’s “Molars of Leviathan”.

“And corpses, both animate and hollow,” Akes nods. “It is fed by the cleaning crews and the various estates and grind towers along the path to Malagard,” she points toward the cavern’s entrance, then in the opposite direction, to a small lake where the stream seems to terminate. “At the bottom of that sludge pool over there, the river goes under the ground and eventually intersects with the mines. The miners guard it, of course, but insufficiently, an obvious characteristic of those who dwell here.” “Most obvious,” Jinx agrees. “What do they mine?” “The blood of the Leviathan. They sap it for black mana. And they sell blocks of stone to the city dwellers, illegally, of course, but by necessity so that they may have nice things and so that the city may meet its construction quota.” “Which is set by Baftis.” “More or less,” Akes nods. “Any other silly questions?” Jinx turns to her taxi, her eyes darkening with foreboding beauty as obsidian streaks crisscross each iris like a constricting web. ‘Reminiscent of Lolth,’ Akes can’t help but ponder, and even though Jinx has created no link into the mind of this she-devil, she can still somehow make out these surface thoughts, as though the bloody water of her dreams is still speaking to her, revealing secrets even while she’s awake. “Does is bother you,” Jinx queries, “the Lolth-thing?” “Is that how you do it?” “Do what?” “Accomplish things.” “You think that is what strengthens my blood? Darling, that and its diabolic counterpart are the weakest of my three. Now, I have only one more, silly question: what does Kanoechor look like?” But Akes need not reply, for the image of him flashes in her mind, and for Jinx, at least at this particular moment, that is enough. In her mind’s eye she can see him clearly as were he standing directly before her, and her eyes narrow to thin slits as she perceives this vision. He’s not a comely devil, at least not in her estimation, though she can tell that he was handsome once, a very long time ago. That was before the front of his face was cleaved away, everything from his nose to his entire jaw, for his crime of having sided with Nergal and leading his troops against Baftis and Barbatos. Likewise, his

scalp had been ripped clean from his skull, so that his long, glorious hair of which he was once so proud could be burnt in front of him as he was tortured. Then he was made to slit his wrists as an act of contrition, and finally, when still he glared hatefully at his captors, his eyes were plucked out, and magical nails were hammered into his bottoms of his feet, so that wherever he walked, he would always feel pain and remember his crime. That is how they released him, laughing as he left, blind, lame, and even unable to speak. He had since found a new head of hair, plucking one strand from every creature he had since destroyed, and lacing each into his skull. No longer quite so beautiful, his hair was now a statement of his wrath. As for the nails and the slits on his wrists, they remained, made permanent by the strength of their magic, but he learned to walk without touching the ground and to live without blood. However his eyes, his once glorious, beautiful eyes, these he never replaced, preferring to see by the second-sight he had since acquired in the deepest mines

of Maladomini. And so it was there that he continued to exist, his presence tolerated more than condoned. “He looks...a little strange, I suppose,” Akes finally gets around to stating. “Never mind,” Jinx replies. “I’m sure I’ll figure it out.”

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